In a declaration to a specially summoned session of the Belgian Parliament, Prime Minister Eyskens said in Brussels, July 11, that Belgian forces had intervened in the Congo to safeguard human lives.
In a declaration to a specially summoned session of the Belgian Parliament, Prime Minister Eyskens said in Brussels, July 11, that Belgian forces had intervened in the Congo to safeguard human lives. However, Belgium recognised that the independence of the Congo was an accomplished fact and it would be respected. Meanwhile, plane loads of European refugees continued to arrive at Brussels airport from the trouble-ridden new Republic.
Intervention, M. Eyskens said, had been at Luluabourg in Katanga, at Boma and Matadi at the mouth of the River Congo, and at Goma on the borders of Ruanda-Urundi. Belgium had chosen this course when faced by the double task of honouring the Congo's independence and safeguarding the lives of its subjects, after the breakdown of the Force Publique.
Giving the latest totals of refugees, the Premier said more than 5,000 were now in Brazzaville, nearly 3,000 in Rhodesia and 3,500 in Portuguese Angola. In addition more than 1,000 had now reached Brussels by air, some 2,000 had crossed into Ruanda-Urundi and others were in Uganda. In all, some 15,000 of the Congo Europeans must now have left the country and many more must be anxious to leave as soon as possible.
For the future, the Prime Minister appealed to Belgian administrators and executives to stay in the Congo to preserve the administrative and economic structure. He promised Belgium's help and cooperation, and asked for the support of friendly nations and international organizations.
Three more companies of reservist parachute troops and another company of infantry left Brussels the same day for the Congo, where Belgian troops are still under orders to intervene in an emergency where the lives of white people are in danger.
While Congolese Premier Lumumba has condemned such interventions as "a violation of the Congo's national sovereignty" and asked the United Nations for military specialists to help reorganise the mutinous national army, his Foreign Minister Bokombo has welcomed Belgian intervention in Katanga, even claiming he had asked for it. The two Ministers sent by the Belgian Government, M. de Schrijver and M. Ganshof van der Meerch, have arrived in the Congo and are trying to discuss with Premier Lumumba and President Kasavubu the precise conditions under which Belgian troops may intervene.